Ontario Nature to lobby for 5 km buffer from Important Bird Areas

Ontario Nature (ON), an environmental organization of conservationists and field naturalists, has adopted a resolution opposing wind energy development within 5 km of national and provincial parks and Important Bird Areas of known migratory significance. 

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and Kingston Field Naturalists, joint sponsors, presented the resolution at ON’s annual general meeting, held in Sarnia, May 28-29.  After a friendly amendment, it was passed unanimously.

PECFN board member (and member of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County) Myrna Wood is responsible for initiating the resolution, preparing the draft, lobbying regional groups for support, and speaking to the question at the AGM. 

It is expected that the ON executive will now be lobbying the Ontario government strongly to protect natural areas in which bird migration may be threatened.

Henri Garand
Chair, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County

The full text of the resolution is as follows:

Resolution accepted by members at the Annual General Meeting of Ontario Nature,
May 29, 2010

Priority Resolution on: Protecting Bird Migration Areas

WHEREAS many members of Ontario Nature have advocated for Renewable Energy projects that are Economic, Efficient, Equitable, and Environmentally Sound for over 30 years;
WHEREAS the aims of the Ontario Government’s policies to address climate change through the Green Energy and Green Economy Act and through its Climate Change Action Plan are laudable, more action and refinements are required to ensure that wildlife is properly protected; 
WHEREAS most proposed wind farm sites in Ontario are concentrated along the Great Lakes shorelines often precisely where migrating birds are forced to congregate;
WHEREAS  proposed wind farms and individual turbines, without thorough studies, may be inappropriately sited near areas particularly important to bird migration, including Provincial Parks, National Parks and Important Bird Areas, and thereby cause significant bird mortality and damage to bird populations;
WHEREAS there is a proposal to site a wind farm at Ostrander Point, Prince Edward County, an internationally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA), where credible radar data show that hundreds of thousands of birds move through the area at an altitude that puts them in danger of collision with turbine blades;
WHEREAS Environment Canada, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Nature Canada, Ontario Nature and the Audubon Society advise that turbines be excluded from Important Bird Areas and other sites important to bird migration and breeding;
WHEREAS the Ontario government has responsibility for wildlife protection, for example, under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and the Endangered Species Act, 2007;
WHEREAS more than half of the bird species that migrate through Ontario to Canada’s northern forests have declined in numbers according to Canadian and US bird counts and Breeding Bird Surveys; and
WHEREAS in Michigan, the Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council has recommended to the governor a buffer that would prohibit the development of wind farms within 5 miles around globally and continentally significant IBAs;
Now Therefore Be it resolved that Ontario Nature – Federation of Ontario Naturalists
(1)     calls upon the government of Ontario to place a moratorium on wind farm development within 5 km of known significance to migrating birds and National Parks, Provincial Parks, and Important Bird Areas, until thorough, multi-year radar studies of bird migration are conducted at proposed development sites; and
(2)     urges the government to protect these sites from wind farm development if studies determine that  they have significant bird migration concentrations, for example, of over 100,000 birds in a season or are found to be situated within major migratory pathways.
Moved by:                 Myrna Wood, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists
Seconded by:            Erwin Batalla, Kingston Field Naturalists
Sponsored by:           Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and
                                         Kingston Field Naturalists

9 thoughts on “Ontario Nature to lobby for 5 km buffer from Important Bird Areas

  1. Thankyou Myrna Wood. Well Done

    I live within 5 km of Inverhuron Provincial Park on Lake Huron, does this mean that existing Turbines within the 5km to a provincial park will need to be shut down and decomissioned?
    This should be part of it

    Thanks again

  2. Decommissioning is considered part of the planning process, though details are always vague. Regardless, industrial wind turbines not measuring up to promised production standards should be decommissioned immediately. Why leave non-functioning or badly functioning industrial wind turbines on the landscape to put a drain on the energy system and further impact the environment?

  3. ON Nature? A little late to the party. They were asked for support several years ago and waited far, far too long. So did Nature Canada.

    Obvious question: Why did Michigan ask for 5 mile setbacks and ON Nature only ask for 5 kilometres? Are they having trouble converting to metric?

    I dropped my membership to both ON Nature and Nature Canada after getting the brush-off on the issue when it could have been stopped in its tracks in the beginning and will never have another thing to do with them.

  4. Five kilometers doesn’t seem near enough buffer for bird areas… that’s the equivalent of flying around the block in bird terms.

  5. 5 KM doesn’t seem far enough for birds. It is certainly not far enough for me. From my house in Stoney Point, I can clearly see the 5 turbines (and their flashing red beacons at night) located 23 KMs across the lake in Grande Pointe. But Dalton McGuinty will never see from his home on Lake Simcoe since he’s made sure that they will Not be In His Backyard.

  6. You’re right about them taking far too long to respond to this, Notsogullible.

    I’ve been writing to them for 4 years and never received a response. Here is Essex County there are projects either built, about to be built or in planning stages near every IBA.

    I believe there are projects already slated near every IBA in Ontario. Too late.

  7. Dalton McGuinty has a home on Lake Simcoe?

    There are plants to put Wind Turbines on Georgina Island.

    Should be interesting!

  8. If I recall correctly WIRE (Wolfe Island Residents for the Environment) repeatedly asked Kingston Field Naturalists to intervene on behalf of a full environmental assessment.

    THe answer: WE ARE IN FAVOUR OF WIND DEVELOPMENT (add robotic voice-over)

    So NOW they’re concerned! A little too late as Wolfe Island’s turbines show the highest kill rate in Ontario.

    Too little too late folks.

  9. I got the same response from Ducks Unlimited, Ontario Nature, Suzuki Foundation, Audobon Society, etc, etc.

    They said there’s not much we can do for you…but good luck with your fight. It was my problem, not theirs.

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